The Department of Biology and Marine Biology is located in the Dobo Hall and in Friday Hall, which house modern research and teaching facilities. Additional faculty research laboratories are located in the nearby Center for Marine Science (CMS), an integral part of the university that promotes basic and applied research in the fields of oceanography, coastal and wetlands studies, marine biomedical and environmental physiology, and marine biotechnology and aquaculture.
The university's laboratories contain modern equipment that enables study in disciplines as diverse as molecular and cellular biology, light and electron microscopy, organismal biology and behavior, and ecology.
Boats ranging from 13 to 25 feet are available through CMS for coastal research. CMS also operates the 63-foot R/V Cape Fear. Larger vessels for offshore work are available through a consortium of North Carolina universities that support the 135-foot research vessel Cape Hatteras.
The university is also the host organization for one of the NOAA-sponsored National Undersea Research Centers (NURC). This program supports fisheries management research, studies of ocean floor processes, and other shelf research from the Gulf of Maine to the Gulf of Mexico. NURC facilities include remote operated vehicles and the undersea habitat, Aquarius. Undeveloped barrier islands are located within a short distance of the university, as are two estuarine sanctuaries that provide broad expanses of coastal marsh. Locally, Wilmington and the surrounding area contain large wetland ecosystems, as well as an expansive tidal swamp associated with the Cape Fear estuary.